Silverstag turned my companion intuition upside down, so I wrote out some notes to help me plan. Feel free to point out any errors or make recommendations.
Companions Attributes allow for maintaining three of their related skills, except for INT which allows for six. Some companions may benefit from four skills in an attribute set (like Trade, Persuasion, Leadership, Prisoner Management). Make intelligent decisions on the worth of adding a point of INT here and there to keep up. Unless a companion is clearly combat-focused, they should be kept in the foot Archer division and given a crossbow. This is because crossbows require no skills to be effective with, as opposed to Archery which relies on Power Draw, which relies on STR. There will be times when you have extra skill points on level. Round up general combat skills like Weapon master, Ironflesh, Shield, and Athletics to their cap.
ALAYEN Blademaster Commanding Presence Tactician Alayen isn’t great. He can be treated either as a combat troop or a combat leader. His three abilities draw upon three stats. One path is AGI and pump Weapon master, making him a light to medium armored heavy hitter. Round STR up to 12 or 15. Probably better is going the combat leader route, since his individual combat abilities aren’t that impressive. Especially if you don’t take Artimenner or Lezalit, Alayen may be your only Tactician. Put him in Infantry to increase their damage, or make him a light Cavalry with some extra AGI (just keep him with a bladed weapon). Round CHA up to at least 9 and get 3 Leadership either path. If you do take him, consider pumping INT for Tactics, and making him a Doctor or Scout, even if he’s a backup of those roles.
BAHESHTUR Hunter Sharpshooter Master Archer Baheshtur is fairly useful. Hunter is good, but not worth maxing INT for. I suggest rounding up to 12 to get Tracking to 4. You might consider making him your Tracker/Pathfinder/Spotter and really pumping INT, but I consider him too good of an archer for that, and there are weaker companions that can fill those roles. Max out AGI and Weapon master. If you make use of a Horse Archer division, he is ideal for that. I personally prefer foot archers, especially so he can benefit from nearby leader bonuses. Obviously give him a bow. I prefer to double up on arrows and give him a 2H for backup. His high AGI will give some leeway on ENC. Give him as high of armor as you can without suffering skill drops.
FIRENTIS Hardy Indomitable Fortitude Firentis is a decent fighter with no leadership or utility skills. His abilities lend himself to being a heavily armored Infantry unit since a lower AGI will penalize Riding far more than Athletics. Pump STR, prioritizing Ironflesh. Don’t neglect AGI entirely. The starting 12 is respectable early on, but eventually it should get to at least 15 to keep up with Weapon master (higher weapon point cap), and pumped late game once STR is maxed. I prefer two-hand weapons since he is disposable, and a few points in power throw.
MARNID Quick Study Cargomaster Administrator Marnid is the best Quartermaster. Through Quick Study, he will gain extra experience based on INT. Cargomaster grants increased sale prices, driven through Persuasion (CHA). A secondary effect is that merchants have more gold based on Trade, which is of little use in the early to mid-game, and is of dubious use in late game. Max out CHA; and pump Persuasion, Trade, and Leadership in that order. Read the INT book to round up to 12, and get AGI to 9 early on for a third Weapon master point. Give him a crossbow, sword and shield. Foot Archer division. No limit to armor, but low STR will naturally keep him light.
NIZAR Inspiring Watchful Eye Useful Contacts Nizar is the best Gaoler, but this will not be well-appreciated until Useful Contacts is unlocked at level 20. Assign him as gaoler immediately, but consider keeping him as light cavalry in the beginning to help him gain experience through combat. He begins with decent combat skills that are beyond his stats, so don’t bother adding to STR and AGI. Alternatively, you may want him in the Foot Archer division from the start to work on his crossbow skills, which is where he’ll end up. Pump CHA from the start. He’ll be needing Prisoner Management, Persuasion, and Trade. Put any spare points into Leadership for a passive morale boost. Keep him at low ENC if on a horse, with a long bladed 1H weapon and shield; or no restriction if on foot with a crossbow.
KATRIN Supply Runner Chef Efficient Katrin is the best Storekeeper. She starts with an amazing 7 Inventory Management, which satisfies one requirement of her supply runner, restocking ability. Increasing the coverage of food is passive and static, but Trade is needed to maximize the morale benefit of food. Pump CHA to maximize Trade, then Leadership in case she ends up a steward. If you want to maximize her restocking ability, pump AGI up to 15 early on and put skill points into Athletics, with extras going into Weapon Master. Rounding STR up is not needed since she starts with 3 Ironflesh already, unless it gets you a good piece of equipment. Give her a crossbow, sword and shield. Foot Archer division. No limit to armor, but low STR will naturally keep her light.
1.) Katrin does need to improve athletics in order to gain benefit for the supply runner trait paired with her high initial inventory management skill. The maximum benefit would be to reach an athletics skill of 5.
BORCHA Nimble Scavenger Useful Contacts Borcha makes for a good horse archer. Useful Contacts allows him to fill a party role later on if you don’t take Marnid/Nizar/Katrin, but I don’t recommend not taking them. Pump AGI and Looting, then skills associated with horse archery. Round STR up to 9 for a third Ironflesh. Nimble allows him to encumber well with heavier armor, but low STR will keep him light anyway. Probably better with a crossbow, but I can’t culturally abide a Khergit with a crossbow. His starting scout skills seem tempting to pump INT for, but these are quickly surpassed by other characters that make better use of INT.
ARTIMENNER Shield Basher Tactician Engineer Artimenner has several conflicting roles. Shield Bash bears little weight on his destiny. The combination of Tactician and Engineer make INT his primary attribute, with AGI as a secondary to give him some help with a crossbow (doesn’t kick in until level 20). Trade would be good as a steward, but since it’s the only CHA skill he gets, don’t invest in it beyond the initial cap, especially since he starts with 3 trade and only 8 CHA. Since you only need two of the six INT skills provided by pumping INT, consider making him your doctor or scout. I prefer him as a doctor. Give him a crossbow, sword and board, and no horse. Keep him with the archers. If he’s your only Tactician, consider giving him a respectable shield and armor and putting him with the Infantry, which may be too risky if he’s your only doctor.
MATHELD Berserker Boundless Endurance Bloodlust Pure warrior. No skills to help with ENC, so manage weight wisely as she increases in STR. Pump STR, but keep AGI respectable to keep up with Weapon master. Give her the best two-hander you can find, and a pack full of javelins. Pump Ironflesh and note that she gains damage as she loses health.
LEZALIT Fortitude Tactician Siege General Lezalit is primarily a castle steward for key locations. Of course, you have to actually get him to level 20 for him to be of use. INT and Tactics are his primary for the end game. Either put him with the foot-crossbowmen, or level him up as an AGI light cavalry which might net him more experience. Round CHA up to 9 for a third Leadership as you approach level 20. The surplus INT skills will be more than enough to invest in making him a Horse Archer, for which crossbow is still probably the best. I actually use him as a scout.
Lezalit is listed as a good castle steward, but where he really shines is as a captain of the guard. His siege general ability might not immediately seem powerful, as it does not display for you what it does during a siege, but it has no range limitation so every defending troop receives all of his enhancements.
ROLF Hardy Endurance Commanding Presence Rolf is a warrior, but also increases nearby troops with Commanding Presence. He could go Cavalry or Infantry. I prefer the latter just because Infantry tend to fight cohesively, whereas Cavalry lose cohesion after the first charge. Unlike Matheld, I like him to have a shield even though he is somewhat suited to two-handers. This is due to his leadership bonus, so I want him alive and in heavy armor even if it costs him some athletics ENC penalties. Respectable AGI, but pump STR. Disregard CHA – put one extra point into Leadership then read a book to get to four Leadership.
KLETHI Scavenger Poisoned Weapons Sharpshooter Pump AGI and looting for Klethi. Give her a crossbow and keep her with the foot archers. Her initial three in Power Throw is tempting, but disregard it as she is not a STR build.
JEREMUS Quick Study N/A Administrator Jeremus begins set up as a doctor. Put extra points into Training and Leadership in anticipation of his future capabilities as a steward. Crossbow, keep him back. No horse. No limit on armor.
YMIRA Inspiring Quick Study Administrator Ymira is still a blank slate character, but her Silverstag abilities don’t lend themselves to her being much of a fighter. Her role for me is a doctor of choice over Jeremus. Put a couple points into CHA and use books to round up to four Leadership for its morale bonus.
BUNDUK Prior to 0.26: Fortitude Boundless Endurance N/A Bunduk’s abilities lend themselves to any combat role, although light/medium Infantry benefits from them most. They are not driven by any attribute. He does not get any help with ENC, so manage his weight. I personally like him as a medium armored two-handed heavy hitter on foot. He brings no party skills to the table, so I don’t care if he gets knocked out.
After 0.26: Rapid Reload Boundless Endurance Firing Captain Bunduk loses fortitude, but gains a pair of skills that makes him more useful as a crossbowman or firearms user. If you have a lot of crossbow units, give him one as well and pump leadership. Otherwise, he still has his sprinting boost so consider keeping him as infantry.
DESHAVI Trailblazer Sharpshooter Master Archer I keep Deshavi around even under a morale penalty as passive boost to path-finding. She eventually comes into her own as a powerful archer on par with Nissa, but it takes her longer to get there. Kit her out as a light archer, focusing on AGI and Weapon Master.
Group Choices Nissa should be taken as she is not plugged into the “like/dislike” circles. As a reminder for an agreeable party, select one group from each circle [S1, S2; B1, B2], where: • S1 = Alayen, Firentis, Baheshtur • S2 = Nizar, Katrin, Marnid • B1 = Borcha, Artimenner, Matheld, Lezalit, Rolf • B2 = Klethi, Jeremus, Ymira, Bunduk, Deshavi
The royals are all of S1 (Alayen, Firentis, Baheshtur), plus three from B1 (Rolf, Lezalit, Matheld). All of the best party role companions are contained in S2, which I consider a must-have in Silverstag. Neither of the B groups contain any must-haves, but I gravitate toward B1 largely for aesthetics. I tack on Baheshtur for Hunting, and Deshavi for Trailblazing, and just suffer the disagreements. Baheshtur likes Rolf, although Deshavi likes nobody in my choice. She hasn’t bailed yet, but I won’t be sad if she does.